Sihame El Kaouakibi invests in the younger and weaker members of our society
There is clearly something quite remarkable about anyone that does not stop receiving prizes and titles such as Antwerpenaar van het Jaar (2011), the Flemish Culture prize (2012), Belgium’s Outstanding Young Person (2012), Straffe Madam (2013), as well as being considered one of the 30 most powerful women to change the world and one of the most influential migrants in Belgium, not to mention a member of various steering committees.
There is certainly no doubting the CV presented by the young lady from Antwerp known as Sihame El Kaouakibi (1986). In 2008, she graduated as a teacher at the Artesis University College in Antwerp. She was awarded her master’s degree in Educational Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Her studies, together with her positive attitude, commitment, dedication and unwavering belief in integration, tolerance and respect in the community led her to set up a number of inspiring projects.
For example Let’s Go Urban (2009), her solution to rejuvenate our society and her ultimate success story. Her aim is to offer young people from different cultures and backgrounds, and hanging around without any prospects, a future in the city. So many of them are bursting with talent and creativity. It is important to give them encouragement and guidance and allow them to develop their common passion for say urban dance, urban sports or street food. Help is provided by the company's own staff and teachers. Not with complicated marketing strategies, but simply by doing what they promise. And, of course, by using social media to motivate and inspire others. The city of Antwerp supports Sihame's initiative, both in logistical and financial terms. Let’s Go Urban has been given a permanent base. The organisation was able to install its activities in an old hall on ’t Kiel, a troublesome neighbourhood that could certainly use some rejuvenation. This new spot is ideal for building a community. In any case, many of the young people involved come from this very district. All young and creative talent is welcome. With her book, #Believe (2013), Sihame aims to reinforce her mission and convince everyone of her faith in our greatest asset, the new generation.
In 2014, Sihame founded A Woman’s View, a consultancy developing concepts for companies, organisations and government institutions related to socio-economic business, education, youth (cultures), urban development, urbanisation ... One of its main aims is to help companies track down all the talented and motivated workers with a different origin, culture, religion and socio-economic background - and, of course, vice versa. Finally she aims to draw attention to the responsibilities of education, the media and people themselves with her lectures and significant presence at home and abroad.
Photo: © Facebook Sihame El Kaouakibi